Category Archive: Comic Review

Dec 15 2013

Amelia Rules! Her Permanent Record – Jimmy Gownley

I love the Amelia books; I just have one problem: There have been so many different formats that I don’t know which collections I actually have. This edition, at least, has a listing of titles and covers so that you actually can tell what exists even if I have to re-buy some books. I happen to pick this one since it was the latest I could find and knew I didn’t have it (plus I was with Cej in DC and wanted to support the comic shop and link the memory of the trip with the book (yes, I know that’s weird)) even if that meant I had missed a storyline. I read this on the long train ride back to NYC and here’s the problem: The books are about the fun loving elementary school girl Amelia and her crazy friends and idol rock-star Aunt, and this one is too. Unfortunately, that is all this collection is. All the characters, all the elements, all the plot are present, and none of the depth. Because I know the characters and their history I could understand and enjoy the story, but there was nothing deep, moving, or really new about it. Overall a very superficial tale that first time readers would be bored with and many return readers will be disappointed in.

Dec 13 2013

White Tiger: A Hero’s Compulsion – Tamora Pierce and Timothy Liebe

It took two writers to make a comic that just made me say “huh” all the time. The new White Tiger super-hero fights crime (well, duh), that should be straight forward. So why did I feel that I had to keep reading passages and wondering both what was happening and why all the time. Maybe I was just half asleep while reading it (that could explain why I saw shadow images such as the  person jumping down from the fire escape after White Tiger on page two or the arrows that show you the order to read the panels in during the last issue). However, I think it was just that the story wasn’t very good. I will give props to having the Cobra as a major villain. Rarely do we have any attempts to make a C list character interesting. 

Dec 10 2013


The self titled collection along with Shadowland: Power Man and Shadowland: Blood on the Streets have two things in common. One, they deal with the fall-out of the blind vigilante, Daredevil, joining up with the Hand ninja clan to take over part of Manhattan and how NYC heroes deal with the situation. Two, they suck.

Dec 07 2013

District X: Mr. M – David Hine

It seems pretty good: Cops checking out various crimes in the mutant area of NYC. There are also hints of future character development, that if it pans out, could be very interesting. Just reading this collection, unfortunately, doesn’t thrill me. Perhaps because I don’t know any of the characters prior to the story and don’t feel I know them that much afterwards. 

Dec 05 2013

RASL: The Drift, The Fire of St. George, Romance at the Speed of Light, & The Lost Journals of Nikola Tesla – Jeff Smith

I was a big fan of Bone and thought I’d give this more adult comic a try. The oversized formate and strong b/w art actually makes this seem like a coloring book until you read it. The story is about a scientist (as unlikely as he first seems), Rob, who is using his invention to cross into alternate universes to, well, rob them. While we know little of this character, we quickly learn that he is in way over his head. This first volume has many more questions than answers, but you’ll want to learn more ASAP. Smith is a great storyteller and wonderful artists. It is good to see him back. 

The second book, The Fire of St. George, give us more detail to the history of our hero scientist as well as my hero, the scientist Nikola Tesla, and the technology that allows Rob to cross dimensions (if that IS what is happening). Still a strong book, but I getting sick of ever gorgeous woman who meets Rob desperately wanting to instantly sleep with him. 

The creepy cover of the 3rd volume takes us to some new characters, or rather further presents some past one, but since about half this volume is notes on the creation of the comic (which can be great for some), we don’t get a lot of new info. The Lost Journals of Nikola Tesla concludes our story, which I didn’t expect as I thought this was an ongoing series (or at least for a while longer). I admit I am somewhat disappointed with the ending; while most of the threads of this story are tied up the key word is most and I felt it would have been better to extend the ending and more fully delve into the various ramifications of all that had been brought up. Still, it has been an enjoyable ride and it is definitely worth reading. Again, this volume has some behind the scenes insights which is always cool. I would suggest you try to read RASL in one sitting as it is easier to keep track of various elements.


Dec 01 2013

Avengers Prime #1-5 – Brian Michael Bendis

FYI: For the third time, why can’t you name your collections!? I don’t know how many Avenger titles you need, but this is one too many. Captain America, Thor, and Iron Man get stuck in a twisted version of Jotunheim where they learn to be friends again. Yea! Total crap! Bendis does very little with the characters, and even less with the Enchantress and Fafnir.

Nov 30 2013

The Mighty Avengers: Dark Reign – Dan Slott

For the most part I had no idea what was going on in this collection. Apparently Marvel went from the Ultimate line to allow newcomers to jump into the Marvel universe to making comics that need Spark Notes. Still if there is anything Slott deserves it is credit for taking the often ignored or maligned Hank Pym (too many AKAs to list) and turning him into an interesting scientist character. And it’s about time. While many of the stories read like they needed another draft and were too reliant on all the crap going on in the Marvel universe, I’m very pleased to give a damn about Dr. Pym.

Nov 25 2013

Captain America & Bucky: The Life Story of Bucky Barnes – Ed Brubaker and Marc Andreyko

The story attempts to flesh out the personality and past of Captain America’s sidekick by discussing his rage filled youth, his sister, and feelings of inferiority. In the end it just falls flat failing to capitalize on much of these points (e.g. Bringing up a sister character just to completely ignore her). Nothing here you need to read.

Nov 22 2013

Captain America: Prisoner of War – Ed Brubaker and others

I enjoyed this stories about the great American hero, especially the Brubaker ones. Brubaker is the best Captain America author I ever read and these tales continue with that honor, ironically, the story is really about Cap’s old sidekick, Bucky, now the Winter Soldier (a former brain-washed soviet agent), doing time in a Russian prison camp. Typical of any good guy in jail story, our hero is trying to stay alive as various super-powered ex-Soviets plot to kill him; meanwhile, a bigger plot lurks in the background.

Nov 17 2013

Captain America vol. I – Ed Brubaker

The long term consequences of constantly renumbering comics by starting over the count is going to cause tons of headaches one day soon, but what does the comic industry care? This was a pretty good collection that needed another issue or more to make it work. We discover that there was this kid in WWII who had access to his own world (pretty cool, huh?! But don’t worry, well simply ignore that soon enough) that some American and Hydra soldiers got trapped in. Now they are back and looking to reshape our world. The comic is filled with failed potential. An imaginary world that can be shaped allows all the zaniness of old school comics and Brubaker could have developed that around his realistic take on the all American hero. Plus there is the theme of am I living in the real world? that Brubaker throws in as well, but all for naught. This could have been an amazing 12 issue collection (or even longer) and instead it is just a clever idea that no one seemed to want to run with.

Nov 15 2013

The Punisher: In The Beginning – Garth Ennis

A mediocre start to the Max title of Punisher comics. Micro, an old ally of the vigilante, returns to enlist him in CIA black-ops. Far too filled with ridiculous characters and events to be really enjoyed despite the good work Ennis does with Micro who I haven’t seen since, what? the early ’90s?

Nov 10 2013

Saga (vol. one-two) – Brian K. Vaughan

Discloser, I hated Y the Last Man and didn’t really care about Ex Machina, yet I gave this a try and was glad I did. The story seems pretty cliche: alien races at war, star-crossed lovers, bounty hunters trying to take them down, gratuitous sex and violence, etc. Vaughan makes it work with humor and excitement, and throws us into a world(s) and makes us want to read more. I ate it up and am hungry for more.

Nov 08 2013

The Punisher: The Slavers – Garth Ennis

Comparing this trade to the last Ennis Punisher work I reviewed is like night and day. Everything I complained about isn’t here and instead the reader finds a powerful, well crafted story of horror and despair. In this, the vigilante, The Punisher, hunts down a group of foreign criminals who have a sex slave industry. The characters show depth as they attempt to deal with the realities of the corruption around them and Leandro Fernandez’s art is dark and brooding as opposed to cartoony and makes for a starker narrative. Instead of a silly story involving titillation and poop, Ennis shows he is, indeed, skilled by forcing us to view the international tragedy of a so called victimless crime.

Nov 02 2013

Punisher: War Zone: The Resurrection of Ma Gnucci – Garth Ennis

The mob boss, Ma Gnucci, that vigilante, The Punisher, killed seems to have returned for round two. Typical of Ennis, the work is heavy on murder scenes, dick attacks, poop jokes, and some sexuality just to round things off, but weak on character and intrigue. Just as typical it is ok, just not that good and definitely weaker than the original tale.

Oct 31 2013

iZombie – Chris Roberson & Michael Allred

This title, cut short due to a problem between DC comics and the creators, consists of Dead to the World, uVampire, Six Feet Under and Rising, and Repossession. Originally I avoid reading this because I read an excerpt and thought “ug, another zombie book,” but Roberson takes that idea and runs with it producing a straight take on the ridiculous. The comic is about a group of monsters (zombies, ghosts, were-creatures, vampires, mummies, etc) going through their daily routines and either saving or attempting to destroy the world–you know, typical stuff. While done in a serious way, the comic is funny and silly and just a really nice read. That’s not to suggest there aren’t problems and leaps in the story’s logic, yet you tend to get wrapped up enough to not mind. Sadly, this doesn’t last.

This was suppose to run eight volumes (or was it 80 issues?), which I doubt would have worked either way, but it definitely should have lasted a few more issues to better end it for the sake of all (creators and readers). As is, the final trade is a rushed mess that destroys the enjoyment, all the more a shame as it could have been so very good.

Oct 24 2013

Marvel Zombies – Robert Kirkman

Somehow, like a zombie Apocalypse, no one stopped this when they could and it spread. I hate this tale of a Marvel universe where the superheroes are now zombies. Some people must find it funny, but they and Kirkman need to be contained. In the meantime read Cej’s review.

Oct 20 2013

Toxic Gumbo – Lydia Lunch

More of an idea than a story, this short comic is the tale of a (literally) poisonous woman  traveling around to find herself. With its unnecessarily purple prose and lack of fully developed characters and plot, I like it more for its great potential than for actual product.

Oct 18 2013

Possessions (book one): Unclean Getaway – Ray Fawkes

This is a very cute little book about a little girl possessed by a demon, who is kidnaped and put in a private home filled with various other supernatural spirits for the viewing pleasure of an eccentric old collector. I enjoyed Fawkes’s comic and I’m pretty sure I’ve encountered some of his very different work before, but I’m not really sure how to label this. It is too disturbing to be a kids comic and too cute for a straight adult book. 

Oct 14 2013

Cthulhu Tales: The Whisper of Madness

Listen, you can’t just stick the name Cthulhu on something and declare it a Lovercraftian tale of horror and madness. Disappointing.

Oct 10 2013

The Lovecraft Anthology (vol. 1) – edited by Dan Lockwood

I’m impressed with Self Made Hero’s line of Lovecraft adaptations (more reviews will eventually be here), and while this collection of Lovecraft’s horror stories don’t have the full elegance of his writing, the various artists and adaptors did an excellent job providing the readers with enough information coupled with visuals to bring his weird fiction to life. Try it! 

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